GRAVY, a word usually confined to the natural juices which come from meat during cooking. In early uses (in the New English Dictionary the quotations date from the end of the 14th to the beginning of the 16th centuries) it meant a sauce of broth flavoured with spices and almonds. The more modern usage seems to date from the end of the 16th century. The word is obscure in origin. It has been connected with "graves" or "greaves," the refuse of tallow in the manufacture of soap or candles. The more probable derivation is from the French. In Old French the word is almost certainly grane, and is derived from grain, " something used in cooking." The word was early read and spelled with a u or v instead of n, and the corruption was adopted in English.
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